President's Message - December 4, 2019

December 4, 2019

It's amazing how, as we approach Manitoba's 150th anniversary, our history echoes in the present-day movements of the Metis Nation.

In the month of November, the Metis Nation led the way as community builders in Canada yet again. In a way our activities were similar to how Louis Riel brought the Metis community together in 1869. It was Riel who stood up for farmer, Andre Nault, who was being muscled off his land by surveyors of the Dominion of Canada. When Riel stood beside Nault, planted his feet firmly against injustice, suddenly everyone rallied too, and he had a team of thousands of Metis standing behind him. But imagine if, at the moment Nault called for help, Riel hadn't answered his call? Imagine if Riel had only worried about his own concerns? After all, they weren't on his land. But Louis Riel had the vision to understand that when one person's rights are threatened, everyone's rights are at risk. It is because of our rich Metis history that we understand the need to stick together, in good times and when we struggle. That is the heart of the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). Which is why we have undertaken a new and ground-breaking alliance.

The MMF, in collaboration with the Métis National Council and Bidhu Jha, former Member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, held a dynamic, first-of-its-kind conference in Ottawa called "Minorities in Canada - Coming Together".

The Metis understand that a unified voice is a voice that can't be ignored. The conference brought together minority representative organizations and citizens from across Canada, together with the Metis Nation, for a conversation that focused on human rights, access to education, and the participation of new Canadians and others in our economy. We talked about what we can learn from each other and how we can all work together to promote peace and acceptance.

In this beautiful, rich and abundant country, no one should be left behind. So, who better to understand the plight of marginalized communities than the Metis? And who better to lead the way for marginalized peoples in Canada than the than the MMF -- we who fought for and won victory in the Supreme court for Metis Land Claims and who fought for and won recognition for Metis Veterans? We are historically the leaders for Minority Rights in Canada, and we continue to be leaders and sharers. I am appalled by the level of division we have in our province. We have a premier who shirks his Duty to Consult with Metis and Indigenous communities and refuses to put reconciliation into action. He lashes out and blames the Federal Government, but at the heart of his actions is his desire to exclude Metis and Indigenous groups. We desperately need inclusive leadership, and if we can't get it from Brian Pallister, we will provide it ourselves. Our conference was about inclusivity. We will never stand for discrimination, intolerance, and racism. That is who the Metis are. We are unifiers.

Our ancestors were there at Confederation. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants us all the right to equality. This is one of the greatest things about Canada. But the Metis are very aware they can't ever rest in that knowledge but must fight to uphold the Charter at every turn.

We will continue to strive for our rights and the rights of others, and that is why we will always be inspired by those who have fought before us, and why we continue to be Nation leaders.

That is why the Metis Nation has come so far.

In closing, I offer my thoughts and prayers to our Elders, our sick and our shut-ins. May you be safe, healthy and happy today and throughout the winter season.



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